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The Doctrine of One True God

The Doctrine of One True God 

Pastor H.H. Ko

I.        “For God is in heaven, and you on earth” (Eccle 5:2)

There is a definite barrier between God and man; how can man, being a creature, understand the Lord of creation? (Rom 9:19-21)  However, “no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (I Cor 2:11), because the idea that “God is Spirit” (Jn 4:24) is not readily comprehensible by the limited capacity of human knowledge and understanding.  Therefore, it is necessary that we pray for the guidance of God’s spirit (Eph 1:17), and seek the revelation from the Lord Jesus (Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22).

II.    The Biblical View of God

(the following section was taken from the lecture material of Elder J. Yang used during the youth spiritual convocation held in Garden GroveChurch, June 1994).

A.                 Regarding the true God

1.        There is only one true God

·         “The Lord our God, the Lord is one !” (Deut 6:4; Mk 12:29)

·         There is only one God (I Tim 2:5; I Cor 8:6)

·         God said, “I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me” (Deut 32:39; Exod 20:3)

2.        God is a spirit (Jn 4:24)

·         The spirit of God is not of the flesh, He is omnipresent and fills all in all (Ps 139:7-8; Jer 23:23-24; Eph 4:6; Lk 24:39)

·         The spirit of God is something “no man has seen or can see” (I Tim 6:16; Job 9:11)

·         “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15; Jn 1:18)

·         The Old Testament records of those who have seen God (or God’s messenger) have actually seen the manifestation of God (Gen 16:7-10; 22:11-12; Judg 2:1-2)

B.                 Regarding Jesus

1.        Jesus is Jehovah of Old Testament

 a.      Jehovah is the Lord of creation (Gen 1:1; Is 42:5)

·         Jesus is the creator (Jn 1:1-3; Col 1:16)

 b.      Jehovah is the savior (Is 43:11; Hos 13:4)

·         Jesus is the savior (Acts 4:12; Lk 2:11)

 c.      Jehovah is the king (Ps 10:16; 96:10)

·         Jesus is the king (Jn 18:37; Rev 11:15)

 d.      Jehovah is the Lord of glory (Ps 24:10)

·         Jesus is the Lord of glory (I Cor 2:8)

 e.      Jehovah is the God of gods and the Lord of lords (Deut 10:17; Dan 2:47)

·         Jesus is the Lord of lords and the king of kings (Rev 17:14; 19:16)

 f.       Jehovah is the Lord of life (Deut 32:39; Jer 38:16)

·         Jesus is the Lord of life (Jn 1:4; 11:25)

 g.      Jehovah is the first and the last (Is 44:6; 48:12)

·         Jesus is the first and the last (Rev 1:17; 22:13)

 h.      Jehovah is the Lord of judgment (Ps 96:10; 98:9)

·         Jesus is the Lord of judgment (II Cor 5:10; Rev 22:12)

2.        Jesus is God who became a man

·         For the salvation of mankind, God must become man to shed His blood for them (Heb 9:22; 10:4-5; 2:9-10)

·         Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born by the virgin Mary (Mt 1:18-25; Is 7:14)

·         Jesus is the word that became flesh (Jn 1:1, 14; I Tim 3:16)

·         Jesus is above all, He is God of everlasting praise (Rom 9:5)

·         Jesus is the all mighty God, the Father, He and the Father are one (Is 9:6; Jn 10:30; 14:7-9)

·         “Jesus” is the name of the Father (Jn 17:11, 12, 6, 26; Mt 28:19; Acts 2:38; Zech 14:9)

C.                 Regarding the Holy Spirit

1.        The Holy Spirit is God Himself

·         God said, “And I will put my spirit with you....” (Ezek 36:27; 37:14)

·         Jesus said, “God is Spirit” (Jn 4:24)

·         Paul said, “It is the same God who works all in all” (I Cor 12:6)

·         Deceiving the Holy Spirit is deceiving God (Acts 5:3-4)

·         Abidance of Holy Spirit is the abidance of God (I Jn 3:24)

2.        Holy Spirit is the spirit of Jesus

·         Holy Spirit is Christ’s spirit (Acts 8:29, 39)

·         Opposition by Holy Spirit is Christ’s opposition (Acts 16:6-7)

·         Spirit of God, Holy Spirit, and Spirit of Christ are the same Spirit (Rom 8:9)

III. Historical Views of God Held By ChristianChurches

Ever since the Holy Spirit departed from the church in the second century A.D., there has been a great diversion among the Christian society regarding the concept of God.  Some of the concepts are described as follows:

A.                 Tritheism

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct gods, and are united through “Divine Essence”, which they all possess.

B.                 Monarchianism

In order to defend against the gentile belief of “polytheism” to uphold the concept of one True God, and to maintain the divine nature of Jesus, theologians in the third century A.D. developed two new types of Monarchianism:

1.        Dynamic Monarchianism

The key person who supported this idea was Paul of Samosata, a church leader in Antioch.  Followers of this idea used “Adoptionism” to refute the divine nature of Jesus, regarding Jesus as merely a person with great powers through the “Word”.  In addition, the Holy Spirit was regarded as a character-less portion of the divine nature of God.  As a result, Jesus was viewed as a powerful ordinary person, and the Holy Spirit was degraded to become character-less, thus establishing the oneness of God.

2.        Modalistic Monarchianism

Followers of this idea used “Docetiosm” to explain the oneness of God, and attempted to capture the divine nature of Jesus through graphical drawings.  They did not believe that God, being one, can co-occupy the positions of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the same time.  They believed that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three distinct manifestations of one God in different times and places under God’s plan of salvation.  In a time when Rome was viewed as the center of western religion, they were ridiculed as “Patripassianism”.  However, in the eastern Greek church, under the leader of Modalistic Monarchianism, Sabellius, they were referred to as “Sabellianism”.

 a.      Patripassianism

There is only one God, who was the Holy Father of the Old Testament.  He humbled Himself, came to the world as a man, and became the Holy Son; the Holy Father and the Holy Son are one.  Christ Himself is the Holy Father, the suffering of Christ was the suffering of the Holy Father, and the crucifixion of Christ was the crucifixion of the Holy Father.

 b.      Sabellianism

Sabellius did not leave behind complete written works for us to study and research.  However, from the scattered section of his writings, we roughly know that he placed strong emphasis on the oneness of God.  Although He was one, God can appear in many different forms; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different forms of appearance in different times during the period of God’s salvation.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may be compared to three different “Prosopons” one actor may play during a stage performance.

(a)     In the Old Testament era:  God created the world and gave the commandments in the form of the Father

(b)     In the New Testament era:  God became man in flesh and appeared in the form of the Son

(c)     In the church era:  God appears in the form of the Holy Spirit to guide the believers to become renewed and sanctified

C.                 Trinity

The concept of Trinity arose from the conflict between Arius, proposing Monarchianism, and Athanasius, proposing “Logos-Theology”.  Later, in 325 A.D., with the influence of politics, the Trinity of Nicerum begin to take form:  “We believe in one God, who is the almighty Father, creator of visible and invisible beings.  Also, we believe in one Lord, who is Jesus Christ, who was born but not created, homoousios with God.”  However, the conflict did not end here.  Some followers of Arius accepted Eusebius’ suggestion of replacing “Homoousios” with “Homoiousios”, and was also influenced by Origenes’ belief that the Son is subordinate under the Father, which is termed “Subordinationism”.

Strict followers of Arius, followers of Athanasius who believed in Trinity, and followers of Arius with compromised beliefs (Subordinationism) continued to debate and dispute over their differences until the Council of Constantinople in 318 A.D., where the Nicene Creed was again proclaimed.  An additional item of belief was added, “We believe the Lord Holy Spirit is the giver of life, who was from the Father, who received glory together with the Holy Father and the Holy Son, and who spoke through the prophets.”

From that time on, eastern Greek churches abided by the Trinity proclaimed at the Council of Constantinople.  Western Latin churches, however, thought that the Holy Spirit came from the Holy Father and Holy Son and, therefore, in the Synod of Toledo in 589 A.D., added a “Filiogue” to “...Holy Spirit...was from the Father....”  This was one of the major reasons that caused a sharp division between eastern and western churches in 1054 A.D.  Hence forth, Trinity has been regarded as the main stream of church belief.  This giant mistake of regarding “human doctrine” as “divine doctrine” is the byproduct of “human wisdom” lacking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

1.        Arian beliefs

 a.      Followers of Dynamic Monarchianism opposed Trinity

 b.      God is only one, He has no beginning, and was not created by others

 c.      The Holy Son was spontaneously created, without “Heteroousios”, and cannot exist forever

 d.      The Holy Son was made the “descendant” of God, so that man may worship Him

2.        Athanasius beliefs

 a.      The Holy Son exists forever, created from “Heteroousios” of the Holy Father, but was not created before the creation of the world, the two are “Homoousios” and are identical in divine nature.

 b.      The Holy Son is not an inferior God, He has self-sustaining, everlasting “Prosopon”, but is one with the Father, the unity of God is “Subsistence”, unity in essence.

 c.      Although there are three different “Prosopon” or “Persona”, they are not divided, but are one.

3.        Semi-Arian compromised beliefs (Subordinationism)

 a.      Influenced by the “Subordinationism” of Origenes, the Holy Son is a subordinate of the Holy Father

 b.      In essence, the Holy Son and Holy Father are not “Homoousios”, but are instead “Homoiousios

4.        The development of Trinity in the western Latin church came to an end when Saint Augustine wrote “De Trinitate”.  Augustine’s ideas are briefly described as follows:

 a.      He was dissatisfied with using “Persona” to distinguish the differences among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but nevertheless he used these nouns.

 b.      The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in essence, but each holds a different status or position, the Father is “non-generation”, the Son is “generation”, and the Spirit is “procession”.  The three are mutually related and co-exist.

 c.      The three are mutually-dependent for existence, Father cannot be without Son, Son cannot be without Father, Spirit cannot be without Father and Son.

 d.      Each of the three possesses the divine nature in its entirety, the nature and essence of the three are identical

D.                 Deism

IV.  Judging the Belief of Trinity

A.                 The term “Trinity” is a man-made term beyond the vocabulary of the Bible.

B.                 Wrongly used the foundation of “human wisdom” in a failed attempt to define the essence of God by examining a variety of God’s appearances throughout history.

C.                 De-emphasized the honorable name of “Jesus”, and used “the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” instead to perform baptism.

D.                 This theory originates from the bottom to the top, a human definition of God.

V.     The Oneness of God of True Jesus Church Based on the Bible

A.                 This was originally revealed by God through the Bible, with a correct term and content.

B.                 It is the essence of God (God is Spirit, Jn 4:24), using the unity of the spirit to understand God, which transcends time and space, revealed by God directly to man.

C.                 Up lift the name of “Jesus”, which is the “name of God”, “Jesus” was the name of “Jesus, the Son of Man” and “Heavenly Father”, it is also the name of “Holy Spirit”.

D.                 Baptism in the name of “Jesus” has the power to wash away sins.